A lot of times people don't really understand the significance of a confession as it relates to criminal defense in Los Angeles. One big problem with a confession is that the best evidence a prosecutor can have in a criminal case is a defendant admitting that they actually committed the crime. It's very difficult to get around that evidence as a criminal defense attorney because a jury is likely to say, wait a minute, why would somebody confess to committing a crime if they didn't really commit it.
There are all sorts of different reasons why somebody might confess. I've seen the police threatening to take their kids away and not tell them why they were arrested. I've seen them be under the influence of alcohol or drugs. I've seen the police tell them, if you just tell us you did it, then we'll just let you go and that will be the end of it. Some there are all sorts of different reasons that people might confess, but the bottom line is this – a confession is a very powerful piece of evidence for the prosecutors and it's up to a great criminal defense attorney to attack a confession if the client says they're not guilty.
Illegally Obtaining a Confession
Obviously, you want to tell your lawyer why you would confess to a crime that you really didn't commit, or the circumstances – what happened? What were you thinking? What were the police saying? A lot of times we can file a motion to try to get a confession thrown out if it's illegally obtained. Again, there are all sorts of ways that the police can illegally obtain a confession in a criminal case.
Sometimes I've actually seen the police manipulate the confession where it's really not a confession, the but the police will lie and have taken some things out of context and twisted a person's word and that's where you really want to test them and say okay, you've got a confession, let me hear it – the tape recording. Do you have it on video? Because if you don't have it on tape recording or video, how do we rust your word that this person actually confessed?
So, if you have a case where the police are claiming you confessed and you did not confess and you did not commit the crime, you've got to have a criminal defense attorney look at the case and figure out exactly how you're going to approach the confession. Another interesting rule in criminal defense is that someone's confession alone is not enough to convict them. The prosecutors need one more thing. One more incriminating thing. They can't just use a confession alone, which I think is a good piece of law because again, a lot of times people are coerced into giving a confession for various reasons and obviously you don't want that type of situation because then you'll be in a position where people are being convicted of crimes that they did not commit.
Now, as far as this one piece of information, it can be a very small piece of information. It can be a very small link of evidence in order to get somebody in addition to their confession. So, if you have a situation where you're being charged with a crime in Los Angeles County and the police are claiming that you confessed, you've got to get in front of an attorney who know what they're doing.
Attorney Client Privilege
I have people come in. I've been doing this for twenty-five years. Anything that we discussed is discussed under the realm of the attorney/client privilege. Nobody can use your information to get you, and really get down to the nitty-gritty regarding what you purportedly confessed to and whether or not it's a legitimate confession. Sometimes people may claim it's a confession, but when it's taken in its totality with the evidence that the police have, and with the circumstances of the case, it's really not a confession and a lot of times you can explain it. Sometimes we have to put you on the witness stand. You'll get up there and testify in front of the jury and we get to call you first, so I can ask you – they're claiming you confessed. What happened? Explain it to us.
Why would you do something like that? Then you can explain to the jury exactly why you said what you said, what the circumstances before the prosecutor gets their hands on you and then you're in a good position to be able to defend yourself, get your side of the story across and attack this confession.
So, if you're in a situation where you think your confession was taken unlawfully or you think it might have been taken lawfully, but it's being taken out of context, give me a call. We'll sit down and go over it and we'll decide what your defense strategy is related to your confession in one of the Los Angeles courthouses.